Loving My Actual Life: An Experiment in Relishing What's Right in Front of Me

Loving My Actual Life: An Experiment in Relishing What's Right in Front of Me

by Alexandra Kuykendall

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Feel Satisfied with Who and Where You Are

In a world of comparison and discontent, it can feel impossible to be happy with life as we know it. Other people seem to have it all together, to be finding success, to be having more fun. But we weren't meant for a life characterized by dissatisfaction.

In this entertaining and relatable book, Alexandra Kuykendall chronicles her nine-month experiment to rekindle her love of her ordinary "actual" life. After wiping her calendar as clean as a mother of four can, Kuykendall focuses on one aspect of her life each month, searching for ways to more fully enjoy her current season. By intentionally adding one thing each month that will make her jump for joy, she provides a practical challenge women can easily replicate. With humor, poignancy, and plenty of personal stories, Kuykendall weaves together spiritual themes and practical application into a holy self-awareness, showing women how a few small changes in their routines can improve their enjoyment of this crazy-busy life.

"If you ever get the chance to read anything written by Alexandra Kuykendall, take it. She is a gentle, trustworthy storyteller who lives the words she writes about."--Emily P. Freeman, author of Simply Tuesday

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781493404971
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/26/2016
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 215,181
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Alexandra Kuykendall spends most of her days chauffeuring her kids and searching for a better solution to the laundry dilemma. The author of The Artist's Daughter, she was on staff with MOPS International for nearly ten years and is a trusted voice in mothering circles. She lives in the shadows of downtown Denver with her husband and their four daughters. Connect at AlexandraKuykendall.com.
Alexandra Kuykendall is the author of Loving My Actual Life, Loving My Actual Christmas, and The Artist's Daughter and the cohost of The Open Door Sisterhood podcast. A popular writer and speaker for moms around the country. Alexandra has been featured on Good Morning America and Focus on the Family's daily broadcast. She lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband, Derek, and their four daughters.

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Loving My Actual Life: An Experiment in Relishing What's Right in Front of Me 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reading this book is sometimes like looking at my life from the outside! Alexandra talks about her life experiences in a way that every mom can relate. Her diary-style of writing makes you feel like you are truly getting a inside glimpse into her true everyday life. I loved getting to see her victories and setbacks along the way of her 9 month experiment. There were so many times that I would read a sentence and think, "Yes! That is so true!" I can't wait for others in my group to read this book,so we can conduct our own experiment to love our actual life!!!
MountainsJJ More than 1 year ago
The great "what if...". What if my life looked like this? What if my job was this? And so on ... we all inevitably question where we are at and what that means for us down the road. What if you could actually love the life you are living right now? Loving My Actual Life was a fun, easy read. Each chapter is broken down into an area of life that Alexandra Kuykendall spent a month focusing on with great intention. For example, chapter two is the morning routine and chapter four is health and chapter nine is passions. Once in the chapter she explains the need, the experimented approach and followed by a diary dialogue of the good, the bad and everything in between from that month. The chapters close with what was learned, things that she'll keep in her life after and finally questions for reflection. The end of the book wraps up with thoughts and suggestions to lead the reader in implementing their own experiment. Very valuable. It is a great set-up for group study or discussion as well as personal growth. There are also quotes and scriptures throughout. Kuykendall has a lighthearted, companionable voice. Her life feels connectable and real. Even though I am way out of the young children/mothering stage I remember those days well. The beauty often lost in the doubts and fears. The creativity and simplicity often lost in the chaos. The author portrays this well. No matter how diligent she is in her new assignment, somewhere along the way life happens to derail her. A friend is in need. A child is sick. But the key to her progress was having a plan to fall back onto as soon the days straightened out again. I think in our lives that's where we fail. Without an intentional plan we succumb to the waves and torrents of life. That is true of anyone - mother or not. Woman or not. Although, I feel it safe to say that the targeted audience for this book is definitely women. I found, even though I am not a young mom, there were a lot of truths I could pull into my own life. She challenged me to re-evaluate my relationships, my health and my sense of adventure. There was tremendous value in this book. A definite recommendation. It would make an excellent gift too. The cover is beautiful. The content is light and easy to follow, with great nuggets of depth. And the message is timeless. Bloom where you are planted. "Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."
MrsBishop More than 1 year ago
As mothers, we are so very overwhelmed by the every day grind, our endless tasks, and demands of these tiny people we created, that we forget to enjoy this wonderful life that we are blessed to be living. Alex was feeling the same way- so she underwent a 9 month experiment to learn how to love her actual life, and she invites us to join her on her journey. Each chapter is broken up by month, and she shares her thoughts daily on how the experiment is going. She gives us practical tips and tricks and monthly goals that we can put into practice. She breaks it up a little at a time, so we’re not jumping in headfirst and we can actually achieve these goals. The first month was one I really needed to apply to my own life. To take the time each day to add some quiet. To stop and breathe. To really appreciate the small things, my surroundings, my abundance of blessings. I have been beyond stressed lately, overwhelmed by a strong willed 4 year old. So, I knew that this chapter would be especially beneficial to me. But, as a mom, adding intentional alone time to my day was not going to be easy. As Alex says, “This is part of the myth of motherhood, that a mother must be always accessible to her children.” She says this later in the book, but I know it applies in this space as well. We NEED quiet. We need to set our phones down, power off our laptops, and to inject some peace into our overly stimulating days. I started simple. Each night while my Husband plays with our son or gives him a bath, I step outside and water my plants. The sun is setting the birds are chirping and the neighborhood is quiet. I am still doing a task, but it’s a relaxing one. I can ponder my day, remind myself of what I’m thankful for, or just take a few minutes to look around at this beautiful world God has created for us. Just taking the time to listen to the birds, to actually notice the sunset, to breathe in the warm Spring air, has made a huge difference in my stress level. My blood pressure surely thanks me. The second month, she urges us to change up our morning routines. Mornings are some peoples’ most hectic time of day, so she shares her tips on how to make them run more smoothly so that we can set up our entire day to be successful. I will return to this chapter once my little one enters school. The third month is all about spending intentional time with our loved ones. Actually following through with our plans. Coffee dates or long lunches. Time spent with the ones we love, because we never know if we’re going to have them around forever. Day 18 of this experiment describes me to a “T”. “The truth is, it’s easier for me to hole up and communicate with the outside world through my various screens. But texts and Instagram posts can’t replace the nitty-gritty of real people.” This is so me- but it’s also a part of what’s wrong with the world today. We need face-to-face, real life interaction. The 5th month was another favorite- basically it’s about finding every day adventures around you. “Breaking up the established routine reminds me that I can keep growing, learning, and changing. And it helps me appreciate all the good right in front of me that goes unnoticed.” This is one idea that I subscribe too. Our little family often goes on little adventures, and we are always better for it. More relaxed, in better moods. It’s a quick way to de-stress and cure our wanderlust. I’m not going to share the entire book with you- but I will urge you to pick it up and rea
EpicFehlReader More than 1 year ago
The overall layout of this book has a journal-memoir feel to it, but Kuykendall also has it set up to where it can double as a kind of devotional for readers, what with the "Questions For Reflection" at the end of each chapter, as well as bible passages she found relevant to how she was feeling during particular points in the project. She also offers bulletpoints of what she tried at the start of each month and what she feels she can continue to incorporate into her life at the each month's end. This gives a helpful guideline for any readers wanting to try a similar experiment in their own households I really enjoyed the candor and humor within Kuykendall's writing. I cracked up whenever she described a moment of doing some sort of preplanning, organizing or meal prep the night before but then forgetting that it was done the next day, then coming home to find a chore done and feeling as if magical stress-reliving fairies came in and blessed her day... til she remembered, "oh wait, that was me, I did that!" As far as the topic, I feel this book with best resonate with busy mothers, but even as someone who runs a childless home, I still found ideas that I can incorporate into my lifestyle as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am in the very same life stage as Alexandra— a few elementary kids, one still at home with me. The barrage of activities and mounds of laundry and the stomachs that are never full can be overwhelming. Sometimes I feel like I frantically move from one task to the next without actually living. And that’s what this book is about. Alex is casual in her tone, as she takes one aspect of her life each month and focuses on being intentional... Loving the actual life she’s been given, instead of longing for something unattainable. Perhaps my favorite part of this book is that she’s honest and real. She doesn’t paint a perfect, rosy picture of her life. She shares the hard and scary, she brings a beauty to the mundane that is beautiful. It turns out, we don’t have to strive to be bigger and better and more. We don’t have to wait a few years until things calm down. We can love our actual lives, right here and right now. There is always something to be thankful for, if we have the courage to stop and see. Couldn’t recommend this book more. (It would be an excellent beginner Bible study or book club book)
KSJH More than 1 year ago
Is it just me, or do you spend time dreaming of that far off "someday when everything is perfect" life? The one where everything will be easier, better funded, more fun, and less messy? I'm guilty of looking past the people right in front of me trying to catch a glimpse of when I think it will be "better", and in the process miss out on a whole lot of living. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone. I appreciate Alexandra's approach to her own experiment. She's honest and real, and most of all extends grace both to herself and the reader. I have been incredibly encouraged by reading this book and I think you will too. In fact, pick up a few extra copies for your sister and best friend too! As women begin doing their own experiments to embrace their own lives, families all over the country are going to be changed. It's a beautiful thing.
EWeve More than 1 year ago
I read this book thinking, "Is she inside my brain??" Alexandra makes so many good observations in her experiment- learning to notice the good in her own life and not to covet what others around her have. It is so easy to fall into the pit of comparison, and Alexandra shows us how to find the beauty in what is already around us. I have already recommended this book to many others, and I will continue to do so. Thanks, Alex, for such a great read!
Shanna_C More than 1 year ago
Reading this book was like sitting and talking with a friend over a cup of coffee. Loving My Actual Life offers wisdom, honesty and grace to those of us who might be feeling overwhelmed and underjoyed by the business of life. With humor and transparency, Alexandra Kuykendall tells stories of personal challenges and change that will inspire readers to reflect on their own lives and encourage them to embrace and enjoy the life that is right in front of them.
Kristin Jarrett More than 1 year ago
If you are looking for a book that speaks right to your life as a mom...Loving My Actual Life by Alexandra Kuykendall is the perfect read for you! In this candid, real life experiment, she shares her journey during a 9 month experiment straight from the trenches. It is refreshingly real and not the Pinterest perfect or Facebook fabulous life. But the real life search for rekindling the joy and love for life God intended all along in the midst of the messy, mundane, busy life as a mom. I have been challenged, encouraged and blessed by her journey. This would be a perfect book to go through with a group of other moms, as a MOPS group or a women's Bible Study or Book Club...to read, journal and even do your own experiment. Thank you Alexandra for opening your life and sharing all the ups and downs with us so we can see that we are certainly not alone!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As women, we always want to have it all, but in the process, we lose the joy in life in juggling all these roles that we have. Alex shares her nine month experiment of choosing to relish her life, no matter if it is a little messy at times. She explores nine areas of her life and focuses on each one for a month. Each chapter ends with discussion questions as well as a bible verse and what the author will continue to practice. At the end of the book, she encourages to try your own experiment, because every life is different. This makes the book great for a book group, a MOPS or other Moms group, or a women's bible study. We are all unique and equipped with different talents. From being a mom, to a wife, to a volunteer, to a supporter, and a friend, we have to learn to balance it all, not to have it all. And even when life doesn't go as planned, which it rarely does, we can cling to those we love the most and show them that we love them in our actual life.
MyJoyInChaos More than 1 year ago
I felt as though I was reading about my own life as Alexandra described her struggles with home organization, self-care, and holding time for her own passions. She writes worry wisdom and humor that makes it seem like she is in your kitchen taking to you over a cup if coffee. I loved the questions for engaging deeper thoughts at the end of each chapter as well as ideas for creating my own experiment at the end of the book. I highly recommend this book for anyone that feels a list in their own life and wants to enjoy life instead!
AnnaH More than 1 year ago
For a while now, it feels like I've been in survival mode, holding my breath until this difficult phase of life ends. When the baby sleeps more and the kids are more independent, then I'll be able to take care of me again. Then, I'll enjoy my life again. Alexandra Kuykendall's book reminded me that there are gifts to be appreciated today, in my actual chaotic life. I was missing them, missing opportunities because my focus was on the endless needs of my little ones and my household. Inspired by her experiment, I've been making small changes on a practical level. I had thought that I was doing as much as I could under the circumstances. However, I'm seeing now that if I tweak certain habits, even small ones, it can have a significant impact on my mood and stress levels. I'm planning to continue my own experiment, because why wouldn't I want to learn to love the life I've been given? I have read other books with a similar format and although I have enjoyed them, reading them didn't lead to meaningful change in my own life. Because Kuykendall's experiment finds its setting in her actual life, with all of its regular challenges and responsibilities, it felt more more applicable to my life. I'm so grateful for Kuykendall's authentic sharing of her journey. She is both a normalizing voice and an inspiring one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a busy mom and my life is crazy, I love how this book is spot on! It is real and I love how she connects with the reader! I am so getting a group together and we are doing this this summer! This is a must book for any mom! Loving my actual life!!!
AnnieRim More than 1 year ago
We're in the throes of young parenthood - sleepless nights, big feelings, and hands-on all the time. It's easy to get bogged down in the minute and lose sight of the big picture. I often find myself dreaming about what life will be like when.... When the kids are older; when they're more self-sufficient; when life is quieter. Alexandra Kuykendall reminds me that my life is happening right now. Woven into relatable stories, framed by mostly experiments in taking time to notice, Kuykendall gives practical wisdom in remembering to love our actual lives, right now, in the midst of the mess. Broken into relatable themes, Kuykendall's frame is motherhood but her message is for all women: Stop, notice, and learn to love the life you're in right now.
Marie_W More than 1 year ago
I am so thankful that I was blessed with the opportunity to read this book. You will find beautiful reminders to see the people who are in your life, to prioritize, to ask God what He wants for you and not what you want for you, that it is okay to say no when you need to, and to "do what only you can do." Alexandra takes you on her nine-month experiment of loving her actual life. Each month is a different experiment she has created to focus on one area in her life. I truly believe that every woman can benefit from this book no matter what season of life she is in. The author is honest and relatable. You will finish this book with tips and encouragement to help you love your actual life. When you finish the book you are encouraged to start your own experiment. I was so inspired I am going to form my own experiment to love my actual life. Dream, plan, pray, but do not forget to love your actual life because you only have one and if you blink you might just miss it. You will not regret your decision to read Loving My Actual Life by Alexandra Kuykendall!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an uplifting book that makes you want to reevaluate how to live your life. Over a nine month period, the author does simple life changes and journals about it. Life is too short to wait, we all need to start loving the life that is right in front of us! This is a great book to read within a book club or even with friends.